People who love to eat are always the best people. - Julia Child
Everyone has their favourite dish. While people are very passionate about their regional dishes, you’d be surprised to find that most of the popular dishes in the UK come from all over the world and aren't just typical British food like bangers and mash, scones and clotted cream, or cottage pie.
In this article, we’re going to be looking at the most popular dishes in the UK and how you can cook them. Some of these dishes are from British cuisine and others are from all over the world. Rather than go through how to make a Yorkshire pudding, toad in the hole, steak and kidney pie, or a full English breakfast, we're going to tell you how to cook the UK's most popular dishes.
It goes without saying that fish and chips are the nation’s most popular dish. However, it’s far from the only popular dish in the UK.
Which is your favourite?
Fish and chips
Who doesn't like fish, chips, and mushy peas?
As a country with so much coastline (we do live on an island, after all), it's hardly surprising that seafood is an important part of our national cuisine.
If you want to make your own fish and chips from scratch (it can be done!), you'll need the following:
- 900 g potatoes
- sunflower oil , for deep-frying
- 225 g white fish fillets , skin off, pin-boned
- 225 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 285 ml cold beer
- 3 heaped teaspoons baking powder
- Mushy Peas
- a few sprigs of fresh mint
- 1 knob of unsalted butter
- 4 handfuls of podded peas
- ½ a lemon
To make your fish, chips, and mushy peas, you'll need to first preheat your oven to 180C and cut the potatoes into chips after peeling and washing them.
Chop the mint leaves and simmer with the butter in a pan on a medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add some lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Mush your peas either by hand or in a blender.
Heat the sunflower oil in a deep fat fryer or large pan to 190°C.
Mix half a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper together and season both sides of your fish fillets.
Mix together the flour, beer, and baking powder to make a smooth batter. Add a little bit of the extra flour onto your fillets and dip them into the batter. Allow the extra batter to drip off before slowly lowering the fish into the oil. Fry for four minutes and then drain on kitchen paper.
Parboil your chips in salted water until softened and drain and dry. Once dry, you can fry the chips in the same oil as the fish at 180°C until crispy.
While the chips are cooking, put the fish onto a baking tray and into the oven.
Once the chips are cooked, drain them on kitchen paper and serve them together with your fish and mushy peas.
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Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken tikka masala is a common dish and can be found in almost every Indian restaurant. Of course, this Indian food doesn't have as much spice in it as other dishes as it's chicken marinated in a creamy spiced sauce.
For the chicken:
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ½ cup plain yoghurt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons paprika
For the sauce:
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons chilli powder
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 3 ½ cups tomato sauce
- 1 ¼ cups water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
- cooked rice, for serving
- naan bread, for serving
Cut your chicken into chunks and mix into the yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt, ginger, garam masala, paprika, and cumin. Cover and put in the fridge for an hour.
Preheat your oven to 260°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. You can put your marinated chicken pieces onto wooden skewers and then onto the baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes until the edges start to brown.
Heat the oil in a pot over a medium heat and sauté the garlic, ginger, and onions until tender. Add the garam masala, chilli powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander, and paprika and stir well. You can then add the tomato purée, tomato sauce, and a cup and a quarter of water, boil, and cook for 5 minutes. You can then pour in the cream.
Take the chicken off the skewers and add to the sauce. Cook for another minute or two and garnish with cilantro and serve with rice and naan bread.
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Spaghetti Bolognese is a popular dish due to how great it tastes and how easy it can be to make. It's also quite cheap to get all the ingredients. Here's a recipe you can finish within an hour and a half and it'll feed four.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 400g/14oz beef mince
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 100g/3½oz carrot, grated
- 2 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 400ml/14fl oz stock (made from stock cube. Ideally beef, but any will do)
- 400g/14oz dried spaghetti
- salt and pepper
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a saucepan over a medium heat and add your mince to it with a pinch of salt and pepper. Once the mince is browned, put it in a bowl to one side.
Add a tablespoon of oil to your saucepan and add a pinch of salt and your onions. Fry these for 5 minutes or so until they go translucent. You can then add your garlic for another 2 minutes of cooking. Finally, put your grated carrot in and add the mince and juices back into the saucepan.
Now put the tomatoes into the saucepan and mix in the stock and allow it to simmer gently for around 45 minutes.
For the spaghetti, add a pinch of salt to a saucepan full of water and cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet. When the spaghetti's ready, drain it and mix it all in with your sauce and serve.
Shepherd’s Pie is another hearty British classic and is much easier to make than you'd probably think. Here are the ingredients that you'll need:
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2-3 medium carrots, chopped
- 500g pack lamb mince
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- large splash Worcestershire sauce
- 500ml beef stock
- 900g potato, cut into chunks
- 85g butter
- 3 tbsp milk
Head the sunflower oil in a saucepan and soften 1 chopped onion and 2-3 chopped carrot. Once softened, increase the heat and add the lamb mince.
Add the tomato purée and the Worcestershire sauce and fry. Pour the beef stock, simmer, and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, uncover, and cook for another 20 minutes.
Heat your oven to 180 Celsius and make your mash by boiling the potatoes in salted water for 10-15 and then mashing with the butter and milk.
Put your mince into an ovenproof dish and add your mash to the top. Use a fork to texture the top of the mash.
You can now bake it for 20-25 minutes until the mash starts to brown and you can see the mince bubbling at the edges. Leave it to stand for 5 minutes before serving it as it'll be hot.
Of course, there are plenty of great British dishes, too. Roast beef, haggis, scotch eggs, Cornish pasties, bubble and squeak, trifle, spotted dick.
So which recipe are you going to make?
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If you need help cooking any of these dishes or would just like to learn a bit more about cooking, consider getting in touch with one of the private tutors on Superprof. There are three types of tutorials on offer: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials.
While face-to-face tutorials are the most expensive usually, they're also the most cost-effective. As the only student in the cooking class London, your tutor's entire focus will be on you and their classes will be tailored to your needs and learning styles.
Online tutorials are similar except you'll be taught by a tutor remotely. With fewer expenses, online tutors can charge their students less. You just need an internet connection, webcams, and a programme like Skype.
Finally, group tutorials are the most economical as the cost is shared amongst all the students. However, you won't get as much one-on-one time with your tutor.
Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Work out which type is best for you, your budget, and your learning objectives.